“At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and GOD said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil for who is able to govern this your great people?’” – 1 Kings 3:5-9
Solomon’s request shows a depth of wisdom before the giving of the wisdom from the LORD. There is a certain amount of fear of the LORD in the request as it attempts to ask for the ability to lead with justice. Many kings in the past may have asked for the normal package of requests, but Solomon stepped out of this and asked for something far greater. The request was not for might as was common in order to rule the territories or the providences, it was understanding. It was not a request for riches and gold and silver, but understanding.
In our personal lives, what do we ask and request from the LORD? Do we wish for the regular wealth, might, and power or do we ask for a sound mind, understanding, and a knowledge of good so that we can follow and lead with a good example. This request proves that Solomon had wisdom in his mind even before he requested for an understanding mind. The LORD had provided Solomon with wisdom in order to make that request. Solomon had been influenced greatly by David and the connection that David had with the LORD. He had seen how David was able to govern and rule only through the belief and faith in the LORD. He knew there was a connection between faithfulness, righteousness, and uprightness of heart and the LORD.
This humility allows us to understand that the request was being made with a preoccupation with something greater than himself. He did not want wisdom to gain worldly materials, but wisdom to rule justly and with discernment. He identifies himself as a servant throughout his dialogue meaning that his mind was thinking from a serving point of view. This is a great example of humility that shows us how to ask for understanding and learn to have greater discernment in our lives.